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Protecting What Matters Most

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What Your Medical Practice Employees Are Expecting in a Benefits Plan

Many factors are involved in getting good employees to fill the seats at a medical practice, but job candidates consistently rank group benefits as one of the top factors impacting their decision to accept a job offer. Benefits packages matter; a robust package can make their lives much easier, while a barebones offering forces them to bear most of the monetary or administrative costs themselves.

The Employee Benefit Research Institute reports that one-third of workers feel benefits packages are “extremely” important, while 44 percent feel benefits are “very” important. A full 21 percent feel benefits are so important that they’ve changed or quit jobs because their packages were lackluster.

It is up to physicians to decide how far to flesh out their practices’ benefits offerings. The following overview of benefits plans ranging from minimal to robust will help:

Minimum Medical Practice Group Benefits

A barebones benefits plan might involve a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), which has lower premiums but usually features high out-of-pocket costs, and no other ancillary benefits, such as life, dental or vision coverage.

This type of benefits offering is good for smaller employers who need to save money before offering additional benefits, but they do little to attract and retain employees, much less give them access to the best health care coverage. Such plans may even encourage policyholders to opt out of receiving care in order to avoid the up-front costs.

Good Medical Practice Group Benefits

A better benefit would be to offer low deductible plans or even a high deductible plan with a gap coverage option. Gap coverage aims to lessen the out-of-pocket impact of high deductibles and expensive copays. This may be a health care reimbursement or savings account, a supplemental benefit such as critical injury, personal accident or hospital indemnity insurance.

Employers have plenty of leeway to design a program that fits their company culture and budget. And those who still need to save funds but want to offer supplemental coverage are often free to do so without making plan contributions.

Robust Benefits Packages

Offering a wide range of great group benefits such as health, dental, vision, life and disability is a great strategy for medical practices to employ. As health care insurance premiums rise, the challenge for employers is to maintain their benefits offerings while minimizing increased costs for employees.

Despite the economic pressures pushing employers into the fringes, most employees still prefer their places of work to administer the bulk of their insurance benefits portfolios. Employees like to get plans through their companies, where they may have access to group rates and administration lies in the hands of dedicated human resources staff.

A buffet of benefits from which to choose helps companies to stay competitive. Employees are usually open to paying for additional insurance plans--often at a majority of the cost--but they still prefer the ease of access and enrollment offered by employers.

Choosing the right voluntary benefits to offer is an exercise in understanding the demographics, culture and preferences of company staff. Bringing employees directly into this decision with open lines of communication such as surveys, roundtables and discussions may not only result in great benefits offerings, but also boost morale as well.

Beyond insurance, employers can plump their benefits offerings with perks like flexible schedules, personal time, vacation time, free lunches, retirement investment programs and more.

Loyalty That Can Be Bought

Employees that feel valued work harder and stay longer. Physicians at successful, growing medical practices should take the opportunity to make their group benefits packages a powerful employee recruiting and retainment tool. The benefits, after all, don’t just go one way.  

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